When applying for a residence and work permit in many countries there are different types of permits that may become relevant depending on the situation. In Sweden, there is mainly one type of permit which is a residence and work permit, but there is also a EU blue card that is an available option to apply for. EU blue card is a combined work and residence permit for highly qualified workers from non-EU countries that allows them to live and work in the European Union. EU blue card is currently implemented in Swedish law. 

Through the proposal presented on October 7th, the European Council has identified that there is a need to review the regulations as the member states have implemented the regulations regarding EU blue card very differently.

The European Council emphasize that the member states should continue to attract highly skilled workers in an increasingly globalized world where competition for labor will increase.

There is therefore a need of reviewing current regulations to facilitate circular migration and a more stringent implementation in processing of EU blue card throughout the EU. 

Kindly also see other important points below:

  • The European Council calls on the Member States to adapt an inclusive regulatory framework focusing on faster and more flexible decision making processes.
  • Member countries are encouraged to carry out campaigns to inform about the possibilities with EU blue card.
  • The requirements for salary levels for being granted a EU blue card should be reviewed, this applies to jobs where there is a shortage. According to the proposal a salary level corresponding to the average income in each member state should suffice.
  • A review of the interpretation of activities in connection with business travel shall be made. This should be clarified in order to ensure that certain types of activities can be carried out in different members states without the need of separate permits in different countries.
  • Employees who already hold a EU blue card in one member state should be allowed to start work in another member state no later than 30 days after of submitting a EU blue card application in the other member state.
  • The proposal also mentions that it should be easier for EU blue card holders to start and run their own companies in addition to their employment.

Member States will have two years to implement this in national law.

KPMG comment

In Sweden, it has been relatively unusual for employers to apply for an EU blue card for their employees. This is due to the fact that there has been both a longer processing time and higher requirements, for example through a salary threshold that has corresponded to one and a half times a Swedish average salary.

We see the development of the European Council's proposal as an ambition to encourage the member states to a more joint regulatory framework. The national legislation of the member states also differs, which contributes to complex processes and may result in the need of different types of permits in different member states.

Processing times for people who want to run their own companies in Sweden are today very long and the process for this is complex. KPMG sees the development of enabling people to start their own companies in addition to employment as positive.

It remains to be seen how Sweden implements this in national legislation and what exact adjustments will be made. KPMG will continue to monitor this and will inform about any proposed changes.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions regarding EU Blue Card or regular residence and work permits.

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